Pop-Ed: The Legacy of Mötley Crüe


They’re on their way…home sweet home.

Yes, Mötley Crüe, one of the most notorious bands to grace the stage, will officially be hanging it up this year. The band will be hitting the road one last, big summer tour along with Alice Cooper for a tour they’re dubbing “All Bad Things Must Come to an End.”

Some may dismiss Mötley Crüe as an outlandish hair band while others may heap Olympian amounts of praise upon their career. Yet, at the end of the day, love them or hate them, Mötley Crüe has left an indelible mark on the music world.

Pop-Break’s original metal head, Bill Bodkin, looks at five things Mötley Crüe is leaving behind the world of music and pop culture.


1. Hair Metal: They may not have invented the hair metal genre but Mötley Crüe sure did write the playbook for it. The Crüe’s fashion sense, stage persona and theatrics, ability to create panty-dropping ballads and straight-up rock anthems and of course their legendary debaucherous lifestyle — were the standards young bands of that generation had to live up too. The band just knew how to be successful and were the flag bearers for this genre — taking the glory and the criticism that came with that responsibility. The band’s ability to adapt their sound from that pentagram punk/metal sound from the Shout at the Devil days to their lipstick and lace mid-80s days to returning to a more polished, hard-edged sound at the end of the decade showed make them one of the ultimate bands from that era. While Bon Jovi and Def Leppard had greater success and receive more critical acclaim, Mötley Crüe embodies the good and the bad of the ’80s. And to be the embodiment of a genre and a scene forever etches you within the annals of rock ‘n’ roll history.

2. The Best Autobiography: The Dirt. It is one of the most well-written books on rock ‘n’ roll ever. Go read it and prove me wrong. Released in 2002, the book is penned by all four members of the band and provides a unique and complete perspective on the history of the band. It’s such a raw, unflinching confessional that does not leave you — having read the book 12 years ago, I can still vividly remember all the details. The book does not hold back on topics like: the recounting of Vince Neil’s car accident, Nikki Sixx dying, the constant pain Mick Mars suffers from, Tommy Lee’s marriage to Pamela Anderson, the utterly appalling sexual, narcotic and alcoholic escapades, the break-ups, the personal tragedy and reunions. The band holds nothing back and as a reader you both respect and revile them for everything they’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy Mötley Crüe’s music or if you’ve even heard of them before, if you’re a music fan, you absolutely have to read this book.


3. The Ultimate Stripper Anthem: What Vince, where?! Seriously, is there a better one? I mean, the song is about strippers and strip clubs and I’m pretty sure those stripper aerobics classes use this song too. If you strip away (no pun intended) the misogyny of the song, it’s actually one hell of a fun rock ‘n’ roll anthem.

4. The World’s Most Famous Sex Tape Well, if it weren’t for Mötley Crüe, the world would have never been introduced to Tommy Lee … or his penis. Yes, were he not famous, we’re pretty sure Tommy Lee would’ve never met or married Pamela Anderson. And if those two had never met, the world’s most famous sex tape would’ve never been made. Seriously, people are still making jokes about that tape, almost 20 years later. For better or for worse, Tommy Lee’s sex tape is a part of the 90s cultural DNA now and if not for the band, so many people would’ve never gotten their rocks off to Pam and Tommy.

5. And Good Music!: Put the sex tapes, books, side projects, reality shows, debauchery and bullshit aside and let’s look at what put Mötley Crüe on the map — the music. Yes, the band has made its fair share of terrible songs, but their good ones are great. We extolled the strip-tastic virtues of “Girls Girls Girls” already, but let’s go even further back.

Too Fast for Love — Vince Neil was attempting his best Robin Zander impersonation for most of that record, but when they got to the song “Live Wire” the band showed their metal side. The 100 mph riffs, the thumping back beat and the piercing vocals make this song truly bad ass. Jump forward to Shout at the Devil and you’ve got that epic, anthemic title track that embodied the band’s oft-forgotten leather clad, pentagrams are cool days. That record also had “Looks That Kill” that has this punishing bass line and is probably one of the band’s tighter tracks in their history.


Then you have to skip a load of “meh” to get to their seminal record Dr. Feelgood when the band toughened up and dropped all the girly frivolity. The title track is the ultimate Mötley Crüe song. It’s tough yet still deeply rooted in the band’s hair metal core and is their most finely produced and finely executed tracks. Mick Mars’ guitar work on this song is second to none. And finally, there’s Nikki Sixx’s ode to death and rebirth — “Kickstart My Heart.” It might lack the punch of the album’s title track, but it’s light speed riffs and high-energy fun in the sun vibe make an ultimate addition to an pump-up work out mix.

Mötley Crüe might be leaving us, and some of you might not care anymore, but this band came, it saw and kicked some serious, serious ass and they will forever be remembered as one of the most memorable bands to ever walk the face of the planet.

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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites